A TOUR ROUND KIRRIN
This is based around a map which I’ve seen a few times before, from The Famous Five – Everything You Needed To Know book. Just because I can’t resist nitpicking – I don’t know if Kirrin Island, Kirrin Castle and Uncle Quentin’s tower needed separate entries. Especially the last one which was a temporary structure! Other than that it has a great deal of detail and includes places from the short stories as well.
ISLAND OF DANGER
This is an extremely simple maze (and kind of looks more like a page decoration than an actual puzzle).
A LADDER TO A BADDIE!
A trickier puzzle. Would have been even harder if they had left clues to the baddies’ names.
FIVE GET INTO A FIX FIND-A-WORD
A word search based on Five Get Into a Fix. Interestingly (for conspiracy theorists) they’ve included Barnard.
The cover from an American video of a Danish film version of Five Get Into Trouble. Must admit I’d never even heard of this!
FIVE ON KIRRIN ISLAND AGAIN
Another comic extract. I quite like the look of George, even if she is a tad feminine and also in rather modern clothes. Unfortunately the text is very modern too – George uses words like yipes. She also thinks the castle is spooky at night, not quite the brave girl we are used to! It’s a very small fragment of the story as well.
A simple guide to making your own codes.
FIVE GO DOWN TO THE SEA WORD CROSS
Also known as a crossword! Tricky-ish if you don’t have a good memory for names. Question 13 should really have a plural answer, but the ‘correct’ answer is singular.
UP ON THE MOORS
An even tinier fragment, this time from Five Go Off to Camp. Nothing exciting happens and Mr Luffy looks truly bizarre. Anne looks very much like her 70s incarnation but I can’t say the same for the other characters.
THE FAMOUS FIVE IN AMERICA
I found this part really interesting. I was aware of a couple of the American editions but not all of them. I rather like Vera Neville’s illustrations. They’re suitable for the time period.
THE FIENDISH FAMOUS FIVE QUIZ
I can think of a better puzzle – spot the errors!
Q5 is about the undersea tunnel between Kirrin Island and the mainland, yet it tells us to see Five Go off in a Caravan. Q14 then asks about Jo rescuing George from a tower in Five in a Caravan. Not only is that NOT even a real book title, the book they want is Five Fall Into Adventure.
There are also some unnecessary question marks and unnecessary book titles inserted. For example Q8 includes Five on a Hike Together in the body of the question, then refers us to it at the end.
It just seems they rather gave up by this point and didn’t recheck anything they wrote.
FIVE GO ADVENTURING AGAIN
This bears little resemblance to the original. The Five come home to find Professor Roland in Kirrin Cottage looking suspicious. There’s a secret code in a prayer book, secrets at Mill House, priest holes, wooden panels in the shape of a cross. At the end it tells us we know what to do to find out whether or not Mr Roland can be trusted. Er… anyone who seeks the real book will not recognise any of it!
CASTLES AND OTHER BUILDINGS
This is fine, but suffers from a lack of attention to detail again. It begins with nice headings and a little text about the location, then becomes text with highlighted place names, then forgets about highlights/titles altogether. One passage highlights Gloomy Water which is a lake, when I suspect they meant to highlight Two Trees, the building. If they wanted to, they could have included Mrs Thomas’ house in Five Get Into a Fix or Red Tower’s place. I assume they skipped Kirrin Castle as it is discussed at the start of the annual.
MR LUFFY’S FRUITCAKE
I didn’t spot this on the title page so I was rather bemused to find a recipe. I can’t think of any obvious connection between Mr Luffy and baking. It would have made more sense to have Joan/Joanna’s fruitcake recipe. (It turns out the recipe is actually from the Five Go Off to Camp Annual from 1984).
WHICH CHARACTER ARE YOU?
A simple pick-an-answer quiz which pairs you with a member of the five (plus Jo). It’s perhaps complicated a little by linking the numbered answers to letters to then reveal your character. It would have been easier had the statements been lettered in the first place, with mostly As making you Julian etc. The annual is for children who are less likely to be swayed by ‘ooh I’ll pick all Cs as I think that will give me my favourite character’.
Anyway I came out as (mostly) Timmy.
Several sections of the annual were supposedly first published in The Famous Five Everything You Ever Wanted to Know. I happen to have a copy and have flicked through it. It seems the annual makers have lifted lines and paragraphs from various parts of the book and then reorganised them into their own articles – and that’s where the mistakes and inconsistencies have crept in. It seems that Norman Wright’s original writings are of a much higher standard and I’ll definitely review his book at some point.
All in all this is another good annual. There are some real highlights – mostly the pieces on the relatively unknown adaptations. If the makers just paid a little more attention to detail it could be better. This one also seemed a little comic heavy, but I suppose it is difficult to source new material.